The Blank Generation (1976)

Genres - Music  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Music History, Social History, Vocal Music  |   Run Time - 53 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Todd Kristel

Blank Generation's deliberately rough filmmaking style could be considered a good fit for the unpolished, '70s, New York punk scene it documents. But there's no guarantee that you'll find this film entertaining even if you're a fan of the music. The grainy film quality, jerky handheld camerawork, and static visual composition don't make Blank Generation the easiest movie to watch. Furthermore, the audio consists of song snippets that aren't synchronized to the visuals. This is jarring -- and not in a good way -- when watching the concert footage. It's less bothersome for the off-stage moments (such as the members of Blondie on rooftops and various musicians at CBGB's bar), although it's disappointing that we don't get to hear the people talking in these scenes. The end result is that the movie doesn't convey the energy of a good live performance, doesn't provide a great sense of the performers' personalities (either on-stage or off), and doesn't offer much of a narrative structure to tie things together. It doesn't even identify the individual bands until the very end, much less provide background information about them or the scene itself. The movie does have significance as a historical snapshot (e.g., you'll get to see a three-piece Talking Heads and Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers with Richard Hell), but it doesn't offer much beyond that.